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Care of Animals in Research and Teaching

Three R's Resources

Eight new booklets to help people replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in research have been developed by the New Zealand arm of ANZCCART, the Australian and New Zealand Council for the Care of Animals in Research and Teaching. The principles of replace, reduce and refine are known as the 3Rs

Replacement: Where possible, replacing animal use with alternative technique

Reduction: using the least number of animals possible while still getting useful, reliable data

Refinement: minimising potential suffering and improving animal welfare.


The eight titles set out  ways to follow the 3Rs in many areas of scientific research in accessible and non-specialist language.

One booklet explains how to use a chemical analysis technique rather than testing on mice to detect the presence of toxins in shellfish – an example of replacement.

Another outlines how the light produced by fireflies (known as bioluminescence) can be used to non-invasively track the location and numbers of bacteria within infected animals without having to euthanise them – an example of reduction.

A further booklet explains that animal suffering can be reduced by using blood-sucking insects to collect blood from wild birds rather than needing to catch the bird, which is stressful to the animal. The insects can be smuggled into a bird’s nest and then collected later to extract the blood from – an example of refinement.